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Delaware Sea Grant donating used eclipse glasses

Katie Peikes
Delaware Public Media
Chaitanya Vardhana from Portland, OR holds a pair of eclipse glasses on his son as he stares up at the sky at Big Oak Park in Smyrna.

Two weeks after the much-hyped 2017 total solar eclipse, many are already waiting in anticipation for the next one in 2024, which will sweep from Texas to Maine.

If you still have your eclipse glasses laying around, you can put them to good use before 2024.

Delaware Sea Grant is sending used eclipse glasses to Astronomers Without Borders, which will ship the stock to schools in South America and Asia. In 2019, a lunar eclipse will sweep across Asia, while a total eclipse will be seen in South America.

Chris Petrone, a marine education specialist for the Delaware Sea Grant, says he remembers the scramble seen across the U.S. to get last-minute eclipse glasses. Prices soared and fake vendors took the market.

“So you can imagine that in South America, where they don’t necessarily have the resources that we do, eclipse glasses are going to be even harder to find down there,” Petrone said.

Astronomers Without Borders is based out of California. They have about 900 collection centers around the country that are participating in the program, said Mike Simmons, the president and founder of the organization.

“The places that we send them – schools, places that don’t have any laboratories, any resources – the eclipse is like a science laboratory coming to them. They wouldn’t have any way of getting the glasses at all,” Simmons said. 

Astronomers Without Borders' website says staff will inspect each pair of glasses to make sure they are certified by the International Organization for Standardization, before sending them to South America and Asia schools.

So far, Delaware Sea Grant has collected 10 pairs to send to the organization.

Sea Grant staff say they’ll continue to collect glasses now through University of Delaware’s Coast Day in October. They’re collecting them at University of Delaware’s Lewes campus at 700 Pilottown Rd.

This is the only drop-off site for this program in Delaware, and one of two sites on the Delmarva Peninsula. The other one is located at the Pickering Creek Audubon Center in Easton, Maryland.

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